Keywords Change this

Macrostructure, Brutalism

Birth date / place

June 8th 1918, Rome, Italy

Selected Architecture

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Practice / Active in Change this

Florence, Italy

Awards Change this

  • 1957 - The Gold Medal at the Milan Triennale

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"First real architectural operation is not to take a piece of paper and draw forms and distribution patterns. It is to imagine in space the movement of those who they will live."
Leonardo Ricci


Article last edited by Bostjan on
March 26th, 2020

Leonardo Ricci Change this

Change thisFlorence, Italy
born 1918, Rome
1 of 2

About Change this

Leonardo Ricci (Rome, June 8, 1918 - Venice, September 29, 1994 ) was an Italian architect, painter and existential philosopher. Ricci enrolled the Faculty of Architecture in Florence where he graduated in 1941. He was an assistant of Giovanni Michelucci and remained in Michelucci Studio until 1946.

In the career of Leonardo Ricci can be seen different phases. The first corresponds to the Agàpe Ecumenical Centre in Prali (1947-1951), done for the Waldensian Evangelical Church. The complex, built using local materials and with clear references to the Piedmontese building tradition, is an expression of architectural neo-realism and contextualism. Influenced by the Prali centre is the village of Monterinaldi, near Florence (1949-1961); the settlement is made up of fifteen houses that, created without a unifying plan, appear “born” from the earth due to the use of stone quarried directly from the site, which is counterbalanced by the white plaster of the surfaces. The result is a masterpiece of Italian neorealism with overtones of Wright’s organicism. In the mid-1950s there was the expressionist-organicist turning point of Villa Balmain on the Island of Elba (1958): based on the curvilinearity of the ellipse, it has a sculptural and dynamic appearance. The social experiment of the Monte degli Ulivi village in Riesi (1963-1967) for the Sicilian Waldensian community was born out of the roundness of Balmain, combined with the styles from the Monterinaldi experience and references to the Sicilian baroque; here, unfortunately, the church was not built, but instead there is a powerful archisculptura containing an ancestral and primordial sacred space. The 1960s were the brutalist and macrostructure years, with the construction in Sorgane (Florence, 1962-1968) of the so-called “Ship”, a 260-meter-long building containing housing for 1,500 inhabitants, shops and offices. The 1970s proceeded with macrostructures and with the adoption of a hypermorphological methodology that “turns to a more complicated compositional formula, with powerful polygonal interconnections and solid volumes in the geometric images and in the obliquely cut and intersecting linear paths” (Corrado Gavinelli, Ricci e Agàpe nel pensiero e nelle opere, in Mirella Loik, Gianni Rostan, Corrado Gavinelli (edited by), L’architettura di Leonardo Ricci. Agàpe e Riesi, Claudiana Editrice, Turin 2001, p. 24). An example of this phase is the Palazzo di Giustizia of Savona (1977-1981), a portion of a megastructure whose styles can also be found in the Palazzo di Giustizia of Florence (1988) which, built posthumously (2000-2012), caused such controversy.


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